Although Maine medical malpractice cases often stem from the negligence of a physician, nurse, or similar healthcare provider, a significant portion of these complaints are based on allegations of dental malpractice. Like every other medical profession, a dentist’s negligence in treatment may cause patients to suffer irreparable damage. As such, over 30,000 patients in the United States have filed complaints against dentists and oral surgeons over the last ten years.
Maine law requires dentists to provide care that meets or exceeds the standards of the dental profession. Dentists must appropriately communicate their treatment plans, acquire informed consent, engage in appropriate record keeping, and provide safe and effective treatment. When a dentist fails to meet this standard, they may be liable for the damages that a patient suffers.
The National Society of Dental Practitioners compiled a list of the most common causes of dental malpractice in the country. The majority of claims stem from a dentist or their office’s failure to return a fee after promising an unfulfilled result, failing to acquire informed consent, their inaccessibility to patients, failure to refer, diagnose or treat a condition, prescribing incorrect medication, or making treatment errors.
To succeed on a dental malpractice claim in Maine, plaintiffs must establish that the dental practitioner deviated from the accepted standards of care commonly used by other dental professionals, the departure from the standard contributed to the patient’s impairments, and the patient suffered injuries that were permanent or will lessen their quality of life, ability to work, or will result in long-term suffering. Further, Maine dental malpractice victims must abide by the state’s deadlines for filing a claim. This statute of limitations can be complicated because they may vary depending on the exact circumstances of a person’s case. However, the standard deadline for Maine medical malpractice cases is three years. If a person does not file their lawsuit within three years of when the malpractice occurred, they may lose their right to sue or recover compensation.
For example, a state appellate court recently issued an opinion in a dental malpractice case where the statute of limitations was an issue. In that case, a patient filed a dental malpractice lawsuit against his periodontist in 2015 for the care he received from 2011 through 2012. The dentist moved to dismiss the case based on the state’s two-year statute of limitations. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the state’s discovery rule applied. However, the doctor contended that the patient knew of his injury in 2013, several months before he brought the lawsuit, and within the statute of limitations. Therefore, the appellate court found that the plaintiff failed to meet the statute of limitations deadline.
Have You Suffered Injuries After Receiving Negligent Dental Care in Maine?
If you or someone you love suffered injuries because of the negligence of a dentist or other healthcare professional, you should contact the Maine medical malpractice attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates. The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience handling complex medical malpractice cases stemming from negligent physicians, surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, and dentists. Our attorneys provide clients with top-notch legal representation helping them recover the compensation that they deserve. Contact our office at 1-800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm.